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Looking back at the ‘unusual’ way Emma Corrin was cast as Princess Diana in ‘The Crown’


By Sarah Finnan
09th Nov 2022

The Crown

Looking back at the ‘unusual’ way Emma Corrin was cast as Princess Diana in ‘The Crown’

Speaking about how she landed a role as Princess Diana on the hit show ‘The Crown’, actress Emma Corrin revealed that it didn’t start with an audition as you might expect.

Talking about how she got cast as Princess Diana in The Crown, actress Emma Corrin said that she didn’t necessarily take the traditional route when it came to auditioning for the role. 

Sitting down with fellow actor, Bridgerton star Regé-Jean Page for a chat (part of Variety’s ‘Actors on Actors’ series), Corrin revealed that her initiation into the royal family “was a mental process”. 

Taking any job she could, while still trying to balance going to auditions, Corrin was hired for a chemistry read while producers were casting for the role of Camilla on the show. Not there to be judged on her own performance, her role was essentially to help facilitate a two-way dialogue between actresses – so the crew could get a good idea of how aspiring Camillas would interact with others onscreen. 

“I was sort of working, jobbing, trying to earn money in London. And also, manically running around auditioning for anything that I could. I got asked by Nina Gold and Rob Sterne, who cast The Crown, to come in and help for some of the chemistry reads they were doing between Camillas, who they were auditioning. 

“Peter had written some preliminary scenes with Camilla and Diana, and so they needed someone to read for Diana. So, I was like, ‘Ok’. And it wasn’t an audition. I was being paid to be there, and I wasn’t going to be on camera,” she explained. 

Seeing an opportunity for the actress to use the job as a trial run of sorts, Corrin continued with her story saying, “My agent was like, ‘It’s the perfect situation because it’s going to be a no-pressure audition’. We decided that I would just prepare as if it was an audition. And so I did, and I worked on the voice with my mum, who is a speech therapist. And then I learned the lines and I just had fun, because I wasn’t really doing anything at the time.”

Previously speaking to Collider about her initial read for the role, Corrin remembered calling her agent straight afterwards and saying “I really think something shifted in the room. I think they really liked me for Diana.” Quick to bring her back down to earth, her agent Maya wasn’t so convinced, reminding Corrin that the cast hadn’t even started filming for season three yet. 

“About five, six months went by and we heard murmurings of things. They kept checking to make sure that I was still available or what I was up to. I started doing another job, but I remember I sat down at the cast welcome dinner, and everyone was a bit drunk and the director goes, ‘Oh, congratulations on that Crown job’, and I was like, ‘What?!’”. Admitting that she tried not to get her hopes up from the get-go, Corrin was eventually called in for a proper audition for the role and, well, the rest is history.

“I went in for a few additions, which was so much fun. I loved it. It was just me, Peter (Morgan), and one of the directors, Ben, just spending a lot of time talking about Diana and what we loved about her, and the nuances of their relationship. Then I got invited to set to chemistry read with Josh (O’Connor), and I had to go to where they were filming. They were doing some pickups in season three and we ran the scenes a couple of times. And then they offered me the part in the room, which was very special. 

“I have no memory of it because I think I blacked out from shock. But Josh says it was the closest to X-Factor he’ll ever get. He said it was very fun. So, very strange process. In retrospect, obviously worked out very well… at the time, it was very, very stressful.”

Fail to prepare and prepare to fail as the saying goes. So, should you ever find yourself invited in for a chemistry read, be sure to have done your research ahead of time. You can watch the full conversation between Emma Corrin and Regé-Jean Page below. 

This article was originally published in June 2021.

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